Taking Stock

It's important, every so often, to stop and go over what you've done.

I've released a bunch of products over the past four years. Eleven of them, as it turns out (not counting the final cancelled product), with the following approximate sales revenue:

  • SEO Forever ($10k)
  • The .357 Article Method ($6k)
  • Zombie Blogging ($6k)
  • Your Own Product: Start to Sales ($4k)
  • The Funnel Cake Report ($3k)
  • Automatic Product Cash ($12k)
  • Instant Product Copycat ($4k)
  • Info Product Blaster ($2k)
  • Pyro Traffic Power ($4k)
  • The Kern-Burchard Report ($1k)
  • System Sixty Volume III: List Building ($6k)
  • System Sixty Volume I: Selling Services (cancelled before launch)

In addition, when I first started in this industry, I sold about $35k worth of custom article and ebook writing services before I said "fuck this client shit." I've also earned about $10k selling affiliate products over the years.

So it was around a year before I started this blog that I actually crossed the line of making six figures from internet marketing. Granted, that was over the course of four years, so it's not a huge annual income, but most of it happened during the course of two years. I've only earned about $8k total in the past two years, since I'm turtled up working on this blog and the product line that goes with it, so when you do the math on that I earned about $48k each year on the average during my first two years.

That's not bad at all. It's a reasonable income level, and a lot of people have criticised me for not staying there. So it's worth asking why exactly I walked away from that, because certainly $48k a year is better than $4k a year, right?

Well, that rather depends. First of all, the specs look rather more like this:

  • 2009 - $25k client work
  • 2010 - $10k client work, $25k products
  • 2011 - $33k products, $2k affiliate
  • 2012 - $4k affiliate
  • 2013 - $4k affiliate

What should be clear from this is that I could make more money selling products than I could doing client work. It was only in the final months of 2011 that I had to face a dismal fact:

The lack of a unifying purpose was dramatically reducing my products' potential. 

In addition, creating a product was taking me far too long. While I was definitely generating a huge quantity of content (primarily in the form of posts on the Warrior Forum and broadcasts at Talk Marketing Now), that content was almost never in saleable form. Transforming it into something that could generate revenue always involved this very long and tedious process of figuring out how it was going to be branded and launched.

And then it needed logos and artwork and all that sort of thing. Sometimes these were not exactly winners.

I'm a farmer in Malaysia!

So I spent a lot of time and a lot of effort over the past couple of years building not only a collection of meaningful content to go into my products, but a collection of meaningful marketing collateral to go with it.

Because fuck yeah, that's why
Because fuck yeah, that's why

And yes, part of that design process was altering my signature to include the Legion of Badass logo. That's not just a graphic, it's how I sign my name now. Ever try to change your signature? It's not fucking trivial. But since I'm writing a book, I'm going to meet people who bought it, and they're going to want me to sign it. And I want the Legion of Badass logo right there on every copy I sign.

That's the level of detail I'm going into with all this stuff. My eyes are perpetually on the goal, and that goal is something I established over twenty years ago, when I was homeless on the streets of DC in 1990:

  • 1995 - $25k salary
  • 2000 - $50k salary
  • 2005 - $100k salary
  • 2010 - $250k salary
  • 2015 - $250k income from own business
  • 2020 - $250k annual passive income
  • 2025 - $1 million net worth
  • 2030 - $1 million liquid assets
  • 2035 - $1 million annual passive income
  • 2040 - $2 million annual passive income

The idea being that I got the typical biblical allotment of threescore and ten years, so I could then provide my (expected) three children and wife with equal shares of that $2 million passive and they'd have $500k+ incomes of their own even before any of my other assets were divided.

It's important to call that out, as well. I'm not in any way "normal." I planned the entirety of my expected life at twenty, not in an effort to design my own dream lifestyle, but to provide for a wife and children I did not yet even have.

I did not have the slightest damn clue how I was going to do these things, but I set the goalposts. I put dates on them. And while I didn't always make the deadline, I usually got close enough that I could see a path to the next one.

As the end of the year approaches, I always go over the goals of the previous year. Actually, I start doing this on Yom Kippur, and by the time the secular new year rolls around I've not only finished evaluating where I've been... but identified pretty clearly where I'm going and how I'm getting there.

The new shit is coming out Real Soon Now. The first parts are arriving before the new year. The rest will be out by the end of January. And holy shit is it fucking awesome.